There are many ways to study the Bible and have a “quiet time.” I’m sure many of you have developed a great routine, but Bible study and prayer is something I have struggled with. When I first embarked on this Torah journey 8 years ago, I felt like I was praying to a different God and I didn’t know how to approach Him. I didn’t think He was pleased with a grocery list of requests. Consistent Bible study has become more difficult with seven children to raise. But I feel that I am finding answers to my questions. If you are feeling a bit lost in these areas, I hope my tips will give you a starting point.
Write it down
My husband and I study the Bible together every Shabbat. We discuss and look up Hebrew words. It’s great! But I need a time each day to be able to meet with my Creator on a personal level. To make this work, I had to draw from the time in my life when I felt closest to Him. For me, that time was when I was a confused, insecure teenager. Life was an emotional roller coaster with best friend betrayals and the discovery of boys. I also spent every summer traveling and teaching Bible clubs for children. I had never been on my own before and I felt very alone. During that time, I did a lot of journaling. I copied down Bible verses and wrote about my struggles. Somehow, putting it all down on paper helped me to make sense, not only of myself, but of the God who was always with me and promised to never leave me. Recently, I decided to revisit this practice and discovered that it is just as helpful now as it ever was. I’m more confident now, but there are still lots of things in this world that I don’t understand. Writing my responses and thoughts about the Scripture passage really helps.
Try it for yourself. Grab a notebook and your Bible. I do this at night when the kids are asleep. (I’ve always been a nighttime Bible reader.) Read a passage of Scripture. Write down some questions. Write down any answers you see in the passage. Write down a struggle and how this passage might apply. Write down something new you learned about your Elohim. The possibilities are endless. The page is safe. (You can always destroy it.) You can also copy out a verse that really stands out to you.
Why does writing help? Our mind wants to stay on the surface. It doesn’t want to explore nagging questions or convictions. When we only think on a passage of Scripture, we settle for cold facts or good feelism. “Wasn’t that a lovely passage?” But the pen doesn’t tolerate small talk. When you write, you don’t want to see – “Wasn’t that a lovely passage?” The pen digs deeper. It may be hard at first to trust the pen and allow your heart to flow onto the page. But soon the wellspring will bubble up and your relationship with YHVH will never be the same. Don’t think this is for you? I have another idea for you. It still involves a pen, but in a completely different way. We’ll talk about it in the next blog post series.
Would you like a sample of how this type of journaling might look? Here’s part of my response after reading Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
Negative emotions and actions are not necessarily bad, sometimes they are appropriate. Sometimes we need to mourn and cry. Sometimes war is necessary to stop evil. Sometimes we must deal with death. But life also has its’ laughter and hugs and joy. We must learn to embrace both. I always want to be positive, particularly as a parent. Help me to learn that sometimes I need to be tough. Sometimes, they will cry. Sometimes I need to show them their faults. Help me to be a balanced parent.
Enjoy your Bible time with YHVH!
Join us for an entire blog series on Bible journaling, starting Dec. 28! We’ll be taking a peek inside my Bible journal for some great ideas on making your Bible reading time more fruitful. Sign up for the email newsletter so you don’t miss anything.